Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shady Roses: Roses for Part Shade

     Right now, roses are available at area nurseries, potted up and in bloom. During the winter, bare root roses will fill the shelves at area nurseries and garden centers. Most of the roses you may be contemplating need more than six hours of direct sunlight a day to bloom well. 

What's a rose-loving gardener to do with a backyard that has more shade than sun?

     According to Sacramento-based Consulting Rosarian Pam Myczek of the American Rose Society, you may be in luck. She has compiled a list of roses that may be successful in a planting area that gets only four to six hours of sun each day. As always, all gardening is local. Although these roses will succeed in the Central Valley, Foothills and warmer parts of the Bay Area of Northern California, your luck may vary.  Look for these shade-tolerant varieties on your shopping trips:
White roses

Gourmet Popcorn


Sally Holmes

Madame Hardy
Sea Foam
Apricot-colored roses


Buff Beauty
Orange-blend roses

Just Joey 

Bill Warriner

Touch of Class

Victoria Park
Mauve roses

Angel Face

Lavender Lassie
Red roses:

Asso di Cuori

Mr. Lincoln


Pink roses


Baby Grand

Miss Ada

Savoy Hotel
Cape Cod 
Flower Girl
Yellow roses


Gold Medal

St. Patrick



Graham Thomas

Valley rosarian Lance Walheim, author of the books, "Roses for Dummies" and "The Natural Rose Gardener" recommends these hybrid tea roses for light shade gardens: 

Brandy (apricot/orange)

Garden Party (creamy white with a hint of pink)

Voodoo (peach/yellow)


Swarthmore (red)

In our own garden, three hybrid tea roses - 

Pink Peace

Fragrant Cloud


- are doing well on the north side of the house, where they get primarily early morning and late afternoon sun.

For more of Myczek's "shady roses" selections, visit the Sacramento Rose Society website. Thanks to Baldo Villegas and the SRS for use of many of these photos.

And, here's the video on how to plant a rose during the summer or fall:


  1. aren't you the peppy rose planter!!! great video... although my teacher said not to amend soil with roses because it would make the new roots reluctant to venture out into their new habitat. sigh

  2. That's what I love about roses, they are so forgiving! Like the old saying, "Ask 100 rose growers the same question, you could get 100 different answers." And no matter what, the roses grow!
    I am not one to amend planting holes for trees and shrubs...except for roses, where I mix no more than 50% compost with the native soil. Why? Democracy. The majority of rose reference books that I have advise doing that, including this from UC Cooperative Extension: http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/filelibrary/5673/14708.pdf

    Your teacher is right: replacing native soil in a planting hole with a store-bought planting mix can lead to several problems, including root girdling and flooding (in heavy clay soil, water flows to the area of least resistance, which would be that nice, loose soil you put in the hole).

    And a newer philosophy about tree planting is taking hold: don't amend the hole (which should be no deeper than the container the tree was in), but do work in compost in the surrounding area, about a six foot radius starting at the edge of the hole.